New Jersey frustrated clubs for years with its lock-down, trapping style that was backstopped by goalie Martin Brodeur. Now they are being tested with another maddening form of defense.
“We were blamed for the trap when we were successful at it,” said the 40-year-old Brodeur, who has made 183 consecutive playoff starts for the Devils. “Whatever brings success is what you need to do. I know it’s probably not the most exciting brand of hockey, but it’s really effective.
“They got in people’s heads by doing what they’re doing, and they’re tough to play against because of that.”
The Rangers got a dose of it, too, against the Capitals _ the only team in the playoffs that has blocked more shots than they have.
Dan Girardi, who broke the scoreless tie with a goal 53 seconds into the third period on Monday, and fellow defenseman Marc Staal both had a game-high five blocks in Game 1. Callahan, Ryan McDonagh _ Girardi’s defense partner _ and another defenseman Anton Stralman all had three blocks each.
The Devils had 15 blocks of their own and allowed 28 shots, including one into an empty net with 1:27 left.
“You have to play defense to win,” Rangers coach John Tortorella said Tuesday. “Blocking shots is playing defense.”
DeBoer also vented frustration Tuesday about calls he felt were missed by the officials. He felt that Brodeur was nudged by Rangers forward Derek Stepan as he provided a screen on Girardi’s shot from the blue line that Brodeur said he never saw.
“Looked like a bump to me,” DeBoer said.
He also took issue with a play in which he believed defenseman Michael Del Zotto closed his hand on the puck in the third period. But DeBoer knows the only way to win is for his club to penetrate the New York defense and then solve Lundqvist, who has allowed only 25 goals in 15 playoff games.
“He’s a challenge. He’s a very good goalie,” DeBoer said. “But Ottawa found a way to score on him, so did Washington, so did we during the regular season. We’re going to get goals. We’ve got to concentrate and do a better job on our execution around the net.”
Notes: The Rangers recalled goalie Cam Talbot, defensemen Tim Erixon and Dylan McIlrath, and forwards J.T. Miller, Kris Newbury and Casey Wellman from the Connecticut Whale, who were eliminated from the American Hockey League playoffs on Friday. … DeBoer said defenseman Henrik Tallinder, out since early January because of a blood clot in his left leg, has passed some hurdles and that he and center Jacob Josefson are “getting closer” to returning. Josefson broke his left wrist on April 3 against the New York Islanders, in the Devils‘ third-to-last regular-season game, and was expected to be sidelined 4-to-6 weeks.
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